Pirates catcher Michael McKenry watches as the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo connects for a three-run home run in the fifth inning of Monday’s baseball game in Chicago. Chicago routed Pittsburgh, 14-4.
Chicago’s 9-run fifth inning too much for Pittsburgh
Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro homered during a nine-run fifth inning and the Chicago Cubs routed the Pittsburgh Pirates 14-4 Monday night in their highest-scoring game of the season.
Rizzo and Darwin Barney hit three-run homers. Castro had a two-run shot and reached base four times as the Cubs won for the 11th time in their last 13 games at Wrigley Field.
Rizzo’s drive off Erik Bedard (5-12) keyed Chicago’s biggest burst of the year. On Sunday, his 10th-inning homer beat St. Louis.
Rizzo leads all NL rookies with a .330 average, eight homers and 20 RBIs since being recalled from Triple-A Iowa on June 26. The Cubs have gone 18-10 since he joined the team.
Justin Germano (1-1) held Pittsburgh to two runs over five innings in his first start since Oct. 3, 2010. He picked up his first win since Aug. 28, 2007, when he beat Arizona as a member of the San Diego Padres.
Barney dropped a throw when trying to make a pivot on a double play, allowing the Pirates to take a 2-1 lead in the fourth, an uncharacteristic defensive miscue for a player who completed his 88th straight errorless game at second base. Barney was not charged with an error on the play because he got the out at second.
Barney made up for it in the bottom half, tagging Bedard for his first career three-run homer, a shot deep into the bleachers in left-center field. Barney also tripled, drove in a career-high four runs and scored three.
Pinch hitter David DeJesus had a two-run single during the fifth-inning surge. Castro capped it with his 10th homer of the season, a shot to deep center field.
Bedard allowed nine runs, matching a career worst and his 12 defeats give him the most in the majors. The Cubs have beaten eight of the last nine lefty starters they’ve faced.
Rookie Starling Marte had three hits and an RBI for the Pirates and Mike McKenry drove in two runs.
RHP Ryan Dempster is slated to start the second game of the series for the Cubs though he continues to be the subject of trade rumors.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said he would be “surprised” if Dempster was still with the team after today’s trade deadline.
Chicago will have a minor league pitcher travel to Chicago as a contingency to a Dempster transaction.
Another subject of trade rumors, Cubs RHP Matt Garza threw a bullpen session on Monday that Sveum said went “extremely well.” Garza is expected to return to action later this week.